self-publishing

The Karma series is complete!

Based on characters from Hugh Howey’s world of WOOL, “Last Walk” is the fifth and final episode of the best-selling Karma series and has just been published…  Last Walk Final Re-worked

They’re fighting in the Silo— the battles are between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.

In Karma’s family, there is a critical fault splitting them right down the middle. Who will toe the line and stay loyal to the head of IT, Karma’s son… and who will join his wife in supporting the resistance?

Karma herself must go further than she ever has to protect her family and to help the Silo survive. Whatever she chooses, this is the end.

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of this 20,000 word ebook:

“Do you know that I’ve been on to you from the start, and not once did you pull the wool over this boy’s eyes?”

Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

“Knowing the truth is always good. And better that it’s us discovering it than someone else, right?”

Hugh Howey, WOOL

1

The young people are fighting.

I see two of them, inked on the face with the colors of the Down Deep, locking bodies with two from the Up Top. It must have just started.

So much of this now, everywhere I go. In the halls, on the landings, on the great stairs. Even in the cafeteria.

A tall one with the white and silver dagger of the Up Top across his cheek is wrestling hand-to-hand with a shorter but more muscular opponent whose face bears a blue gear. I hear grunts and the sickening sound of a fist hitting bone. Something crunches and I shudder.

Where are the level guards? There are supposed to be two citizens on every floor to stop such fights. Maybe they were outmanned. I notice someone lying on the ground near the wall. Is he part of a gang or one of the guards? I can’t see his face.

The other two young men are circling each other, bloodied and purpling already with bruises they seem to relish. A grin passes between them, a moment of glory in the fight before they engage again. One of them gets perilously close to the railing.

Most onlookers rush away from the violence, eager to get out of sight and sound of the fight. Those with children push them down the hall and into the safety of home. Others are attracted to the excitement. I see men—particularly young men—and some women, watching with eager eyes to see who triumphs. Up here on seventeen, the home court advantage goes to the Daggers. The Gears sense this, and their fighting becomes more desperate.

A cheer goes up as the tall Dagger gets in a powerful blow, and the Gear is thrown against the stairs.

I gasp when the crowd whoops with encouragement. As the shorter man is lifted above the railing and balanced for a moment on the brink, his eyes catch mine and beseech me as I scream out for mercy. Others are shouting, some for, some against.

The crumpled figure near the wall lifts his head. “Don’t do it,” he croaks, but no one can hear him. I realize with a start that it’s my grandson, Abe. He tries to raise himself and I hurry over to help.

And then there is a wail—of relief? Of disappointment?—as the young man is pulled back over the edge and stands, panting, still alive.

“Get outta here, Gearheads!” the tall Dagger says. “This is our territory, and don’t forget it. Next time, I’ll throw you over.”

The crowd roars.

2

There is a sickness down here in the Silo. A sickness that has to do with stunted ambition and the frustrated need to explore… to expand. We need to go somewhere, but there is nowhere to go.

The young people feel it the most. They are exploding. Perhaps we bred too many of them in the time after the last uprising—an uprising that didn’t flare up on its own but was masterminded by Jeff, the derelict from IT—and which nevertheless left hundreds dead.

These children don’t remember that. They were all born in the aftermath. The restrictive birth lottery was halted for a few brief years, and during that period the population boomed. These are the children of that boom.

Too many teenagers, and not enough work. No military, no sports teams, no school past sixteen. Instead, they fight each other.

3

Ruth sets out the chairs in the small classroom. I put chalk on the tables in front of the slates. We still draw while we talk, giving cover for our cell meetings.

“How’s Abe?” I ask her quietly.

My daughter-in-law nods at me as she continues to arrange the seating. “Banged up, but okay. He felt terrible. He didn’t get there fast enough, he says. Someone could have died, he told me.”

“Ruth, there’s only so much he could do. It’s out of hand. Thank god he didn’t try to take on all those kids by himself.”

She stops and looks at me. “I know. I know.”

She shivers visibly and then sits beside me. “It’s worse in the Mids. There were two murders last week.”

“Oh my god. How…?”

“A Gearhead from down in Mechanical stabbed someone, and then the Dirt gang members threw him over the railing in retaliation.”

I shake my head. “Can’t the Sheriff do anything?”

Ruth runs her fingers through her dark hair, sprinkled with gray. “She’s trying. She’s added another deputy for each section, and there are the level guards… but it’s out of control.”

“Why haven’t there been any Cleanings?”

As soon as the question is out of my mouth, I am astonished. To think that Cleanings would be a good solution for anything is out of character for me. I give my daughter-in-law a rueful glance. “I can’t believe I said that.”

“I can’t believe you did either.” Ruth almost smiles, then shakes her head and goes back to arranging chairs. “We’ve got to come up with a way to channel all that frustration—all that anger.”

I nod, as the rest of the cell members begin to come into our makeshift meeting hall. “Instead of fighting each other, we need to fight against control from the top. Get them to help us with the resistance work.”

I see Ruth’s eyes cut to the door and stop talking as Celeste comes in. My lovely young granddaughter, walking the tightrope between cell membership and shadowing her father, Mars, to be the next Head of IT… a girl with great balance and a shaky future.

“Hi Mom,” she says, giving Ruth a hug as she passes by. She leans over me, taller than I ever was, and certainly much taller than I am now. “Hi Grandma.” She gives me a kiss on the forehead and plops down into one of the schoolroom chairs.

“I can’t believe how tiny these are. This whole room used to seem huge to me.”

“That’s because you were tiny when you went here, sweetheart,” I say, and squeeze her hand.

“How’s Grandpa?” she asks. Ruth looks up, awaiting my answer.

“He’s doing better,” I say. “His arm has bothered him for years, so that’s not going to change, but the headaches he was complaining about have disappeared.”

“So the doctor doesn’t think it’s… anything serious?” Ruth asks.

“Actually, the doctor says his cognitive function is good for a man of eighty-five. He says that it’s hard to believe Rick went through all that… trouble, years ago.”

“What trouble?” Celeste asks.

“Before you were born, honey,” Ruth says, before I can answer.

“Oh yes… the uprising. Dad’s told me about it.”

I raise my eyebrows at Ruth and let the conversation end as others begin to enter. But I do wonder what Mars has told his daughter about the uprising that took place before she was born. In fact, I wonder what he’s told her about everything.

Sample the book or buy “Last Walk” now and let me know what you think of the ending to this series! 

In December, I’ll release the ebook containing the entire series.  Look for Karma of the Silo: The Collection, next month.  And in early 2014, there will be a print book.

I’m doing NaNoWriMo!  National Novel Writing Month is a way to put on the jets and write the draft for the next book in one month.  Mine is tentatively titled Day Zero and will be a full-length thriller.

Congressman Burke Grant is indicted for the murder of his former intern, a beautiful young woman that he was romantically involved with, despite his rep as a family man.  No body has been found.  To avenge her death, Cleo Gunther’s law school classmates band together to prove that he’s the killer and to see justice done.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

Hugh Howey… I’ve got his back. How about you?

ImageI think somebody picked on the wrong author when they decided to target Hugh Howey.  Not because he’s rich and powerful… but because his success is totally legit, his books are tremendous, and his fans are legion.

He’s going to come out all right after this, and I hope the other deserving authors do as well.  The speed at which this has turned into a witch hunt has been mind blowing.  What might have been a reasonable discussion about what’s appropriate in Amazon reviews is now a sh*tstorm of accusations and counter-accusations.

We could, in fact, have talked about how Kirkus reviews can be bought, and are.  Or how traditional publishers pay for placement of books on the front tables and on the endcaps in bookstores.  And how the famous book review pages (I’m looking at you, New York Times) do a little “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” by assigning friendly colleagues to write the definitive reviews about another author’s books.

Further… blurbs are swapped as a matter of courtesy between well-known traditionally published writers for posting on the backs and jackets of new books.  ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) editions of manuscripts are provided (for free, of course!) so that professional reviewers can have their pieces ready before publication.  Interviews on radio, TV, online and in print are set up by P.R. mavens, and the publishers pay generously for all that.  How is that okay, but it’s an outrage if Mom mentions your self-published book to a neighbor because she’s proud, and the neighbor reads and reviews it?

The accusers (I’m not helping them by linking them here) have such a broad definition of “fake review,” I’m surprised any review passes muster with them.  Here’s their first bullet point on a list of how to identify a fake review:

  • Any review written by an author’s friends, relatives or acquaintances, especially reviews requested by the authors themselves to push up their ratings.

Of course authors request reviews!  What nonsense.  Do they think that traditionally published authors don’t ask their fans for reviews?  The difference is that they have armies of marketing people to do the selling for them, whereas an indie author has only herself.  And even if her book is brilliant, if it doesn’t get that first review, or ten, it will never get seen and bought.

Everybody knows that I’m a fan of Hugh Howey.  I read his books, I review his books, for goodness sakes, I write books set in the WOOLiverse.  All of which has come to pass because… I LOVE his books!  I love his books like I love Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read about twenty times through my life.  I love his books like I love Bel Canto, which was so extraordinary it led me to my soulmate.  I love his books so much I dreamed up a story about one of the characters he referenced, and I’m fleshing out the details of her life.  And yes, Karma fans, I am going back to writing the fifth and final book as soon as I finish this post!

Here’s the 5-star review I wrote about WOOL back in May of 2012, waaaay before I imagined meeting Hugh in person or writing books about his characters.  It’s pretty cool to read it and see how quickly knew that he was the real deal:

Awesome. Simply, incredibly, awesome.

May 25, 2012

 

This review is from: Wool – Part One (Kindle Edition)

I heard about WOOL last week, and got around to downloading this first book a couple of nights ago. Immediately upon finishing the first one, I sprung for the omnibus edition with all the books.

Hugh Howey brings us an extraordinary tale of an imagined world peopled with characters who tell, layer upon layer, the story of the silo they live in. This is a book that makes writers like me say, “Wish I had written that!” His ability to sustain suspense, use different viewpoints, and compel the reader to keep reading is masterful.

In fact, WOOL and the ensuing books constitute a mystery as much as anything else. What really happened? What is outside? And who is in control?

No spoilers here… because I want you to have the fun of discovering the answers for yourself. I just finished the third book and I’m about to dive into the fourth. I just had to take a break for a moment to come here and tell you how awesome WOOL is!

Read this book and thank the folks at KDP who have made it possible for writers like Hugh Howey to share their gifts of imagination with the rest of us. He deserves every bit of success he has found.

P.S. I hope Ridley Scott does make the movie…

So.  That’s what I thought when I was brand new to this author and he had done nothing but write a good book to surprise and delight me into jumping on my laptop and sharing the thrill in discovering WOOL with other readers.  I received no compensation for the review, or any review, then or now.

I feel sorry for the anger and vitriol in the hearts of those who started this witch hunt.  I don’t know who they are or why they thought this was a good use of their time.  Oh… I do notice that they claim to have a “preliminary publishing agreement” for a book deal now.  A profit motive?  How surprising.  I also noticed they are shameless enough to link to Hugh Howey’s very popular blog in order to troll for more readers.

Here’s a tip for those folks who are publishing private business communications on a blog: Get a lawyer.  I note the statement, “Our posts are not meant to defame, harass or personally attack any individual or company.”  Methinks they protest… not only too much but without effect.  Saying you’re not liable doesn’t make it so.

My name is Patrice Fitzgerald.  What’s your name?  If you haven’t got the cojones to use it, perhaps you shouldn’t be naming others.

My name is Patrice Fitzgerald and I am a fan and a friend of Hugh Howey.  I’ve got his back, along with literally a million other readers, all over the world.  And I think you picked on the wrong author.

 

The (Twenty)Five-Year Self-Publishing Phenomenal Success Plan

PMF 9 14 13 RezEasy!  Here’s how you find overnight success as a self-publisher…

1.  Write the first three chapters of your brand new soon-to-be-bestselling legal thriller and send a query letter via FedEx to John Grisham’s agent.  Get a phone call back the next day.  Have a new agent in the office ask you to send along the entire manuscript.  Tell her you’ve only got three chapters.

2.  Tell a friend in Manhattan who tells a friend who’s a book agent who tells a friend who buys books for TV.  Have that person want your manuscript for a TV movie, meet with you in NYC, tell you as soon as you finish and get a publisher she’ll make the deal.  Have her mention a six-figure payday.

3.  Start thinking about your fabulous new life and what you’ll do with all that money.

4.  Go back and take a year to write the book, sending Grisham agent chapters along the way that she files and doesn’t look at.

5.  Finally send her entire book and start staring at the phone.

6.  Be on a cruise when a letter arrives from her.  Call and have your Dad (staying with the kids) read it.  Have it be crushingly dismissive.

7.  Be discouraged for a couple of years.  Have life intervene.

8.  Write a political thriller that you plot out with savvy writing group pals.  Finish in six months.  Send out query letters to agents.

9.  Have some ask for chapters, some ask for entire manuscript.  Have one call you and say she stayed up late reading it and loves it.

10. Be amazed and wait for a fantastic offer.

11. Have her call the next day and say her fellow agent asked her not to take it on because the bad guy is African-American.

12. Write a sample for another book for her.

13. Have her send that out to publishers, who either don’t get it or think it’s a joke.

14. Be discouraged for a couple of years.

15. Rework political thriller over and over.  Learn to write better.  Change the bad guy’s complexion.  Make the other candidate female.  Send it out sporadically.  Become really excellent at query letter writing.

16. Write a young people’s fantasy and lots of short stories.  Contemplate other plots.  Do freelance writing for magazines and eventually online.

17. When people ask you when your book will be published, shrug and smile.  When they suggest self-publishing, tell them it’s death to a “real” writer.  Stay discouraged.

18. Read about Amanda Hocking.  Read Joe Konrath.  Read David Gaughran.

19. Do one last pass through political thriller.  Get a professional to do the cover.  Pay someone to edit.  Hold your breath and…

20. Spend the long Fourth of July weekend in 2011 learning to format and upload the book, with the help of your mostly patient IT-wise husband who has a PC.  Argue about italics.  Stress out.  Get it up with KDP, finally.  Stay married.  Become an indie on Independence Day!

21. Sell a few books.  Tell friends.  Be thrilled at reviews from strangers.  Be happy to sell 35 books the first month, then 20, then 10, then…

22. Jump into KDP Select free days when that’s brand new, at the end of 2011.  Be amazed as the counter on the “sales” page clicks every few minutes.  Give away 8,500 on the first day.  Catapult to something like #120 on the paid bestseller list the next day, because giveaways count as sales, and be too green to look and get a screenshot.  Get on Movers and Shakers list twice, and miss it because you don’t know what that means.

23. Make $6,000 the last week of December, 2011, and prepare to be rich.

24. Watch as sales drop slowly from that date until the summer of 2012.  Goose book with occasional free days, with less and less effect.

25. Publish thriller in print in summer of 2012.  Sell few, but enjoy the beauty of holding the book in your hand.

26. Read a short story called WOOL around the same time.  Read the Omnibus.  Read First Shift when it comes out.  Notice that someone else is writing Silo stories for money in the spring of 2013.

27. Become fascinated with following a loose thread in the WOOL saga yourself.  Contemplate writing “fan fiction,” never having read or written fan fiction.  Email author Hugh Howey and tell him about your Silo story.

28. Have WOOLmeister Hugh Howey tell you he LOVES your story, and go ahead and publish the first segment of the Karma series.  Note that even 99¢ ebooks make money when you sell two thousand in your first month.

29. Write and publish the second, the third, and the fourth books in the series.  Make a reliable four figures a month.  Get nervous and balk at writing the fifth.  Worry that the ending won’t live up to your fans’ expectations.  Write it anyway.

30. Come up with more Silo stories than you have time to write.  Decide not to spend your whole life writing ebooks set in the WOOLiverse, tempting as it might be.  Start plotting a new sci-fi dystopian series of your own.

31. Concoct your recipe for keeping on keeping on, and plan to find that amazing writing-for-a-living success in… about four more years, after doing a lot more of this:

Write for joy.

Write for yourself.

Write for fun.

Write quickly.

Write a lot.

Write short.

Write and publish and forget about it.

Write as though you are already the successful author you will be.

Remember that success is not about the money. 

It’s about the amazement of taking what’s in your wild and unpredictable imagination and sharing it with others.  

It’s about living in a time when we can get our words out to the entire world for virtually nothing. 

It’s about the joy of creating something that never existed before.

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Sneak Peek from Karma #5 – LAST WALK

Here is a little taste from the beginning of the fifth and final part of the Karma series.  I’m so excited about the ending to this story! 

It should be available within the first half of October.  After that, I’ll put the entire series together under the title “Karma, Collected,” and publish it in print as well as electronically. 

Get ready for the final word on just what happened to this character who fell off the page… until now.

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”
Aldous Huxley

1

“I want to go out.”  I am calm as I say it, standing just outside the Sheriff’s office, looking her in the eye. 

I know that I am on camera, but there seems no need for drama, since the very act of speaking those words renders my sentence final.  As I repeat the statement, I feel a certain peace.  The peace of completion.

“I want to go Outside,” I say, and I remember my old friend Andy, whose innocent attempt to explore the world we once knew earned him death, eternally visible on the wallscreen.  If I turn around and go into the teeming cafeteria, I will still see the remains of his body lying dessicated on the lifeless ground.

People have gathered around us, listening and watching.  There are quiet murmurings and shocked intakes of breath. 

I see the pain on the Sheriff’s face.  She is a good woman, and she will not be happy to escort me to my certain death. 

There is no pain for me.  Only sweet serenity, and anticipation.  Finally, I am completing the circle that began when Grace, decades ago, took my place and went out to Clean in my stead.  She told me then that it was not yet my time.  But now it is.

Let them think the old woman has gone mad.  Even a madwoman must be sent out to Clean, according to the rules.

And they always follow the rules.

I laugh, and turn to face the gathered crowd.  I say it again, for the power, the freedom, the simplicity.  The wonder.

“I want to go Outside.” 

 

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Karma #5 – LAST WALK cover reveal!

 

 

Another fantastic cover from Mike Tabor.  Last Walk Final Re-worked

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

Hugh Howey talks about DUST, WOOL, and Spectacular Self-Publishing Success

Hugh-Howey1I asked Hugh Howey, self-publishing pioneer and author of the bestselling dystopian trilogy that starts with WOOL, to join me for an interview.  The final book in his Silo Saga, DUST, was released just two weeks ago…completing the adventure for fans of this instant classic.  He spoke to me just before that release.

Patrice:  So you’ve gotten a million questions around the topic “how does it feel to be a big name author?”  But, practically speaking, how has it changed you as a writer… or has it… to know that your next book, DUST, has been preordered in the thousands–I’m guessing–and is being highly anticipated by fans?  Does that spur you on or keep you up at night?  And do you get better tables at restaurants?  Recognized on the street?  Hounded by book groupies?  Tell the truth!

Hugh:  Ha! Recognized on the street! I’m not one of those authors like Harlan Coben whose face takes up the entire back jacket of his hardbacks. Which is a good thing. For all of us.

I don’t think about the pressure of a vast audience. I write the stories I care about. If I was going to succumb to pressure, I would have written WOOL 6 and 7 and 8. Instead, I left my bestselling novel on an island and wrote something way off in left field. And then I did very little to promote this new work. I don’t put links at the end of my books to urge people to purchase the next one. I just convince myself that I’m still writing for an audience of none, enjoy what I’m doing, and publish as quietly as possible.

Patrice:  You’re a little bit controversial for your outspoken views about self-publishing.  Clearly, 99.9% of writers of any stripe will not reach the level of success you’ve had with WOOL.  Yet, you maintain that there is little downside to jumping in and publishing one’s own book.  Do you believe that everyone is better off doing that first?

Hugh:  Yes, and I’ve been very careful to distance my anecdotal and outlying success with the reasons I give for self-publishing. I made a conscious decision to self-publish my second novel, despite having a contract and offer from a small press. Before WOOL took off, I was posting on writing forums that we are better off owning our material for all of time, that these works will never go out of print, and that going directly to the reader is better than applying to editors and their slush pile shovelers. I was mocked for this philosophy. When I suggested that agents would one day approach self-published authors, I was told I was crazy. Maybe this is why I look up to Joe so much. He shows us every day that logic trumps experience. The people who tell you that they have twenty years of experience in this industry? Back away from them slowly. This business is changing too fast for any of us to pretend to be experts.

As for the 99.9% who won’t see my level of success, I would point out that 99.9% of those who submit material to the traditional machine will never see a similar level of success. It isn’t like our option is to self-publish OR see how well our novel does fronted out on an endcap in a bookstore. Our options are to self-publish OR spend a few years landing an agent, another year selling the book to a publisher, a year waiting for that book to come out, and then three months spine-out on dwindling bookshelves before you are out of print and nobody cares about you anymore. If you’re lucky. Most likely, you’ll never even get an agent. Because you aren’t Snooki.

Patrice:  You have a traditional print publishing deal with Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Random House in the U.K., as well as publishing arrangements in twenty-something other countries for translated versions.  Yet you still publish your own ebooks and sell print copies to fans out of your house, at least for the U.S. editions.  Did that take some fancy contract drafting?  Or did you just say, “I want to keep doing what I’m already doing successfully” and they rolled over and said, “Okay, Hugh Howey, but only for you…” ?   

Hugh:  It takes a whole lot of not caring to get away with what I do. It takes that, and it takes an incredible and tolerant agent like Kristin Nelson. We’ve been in contract negotiations, and someone will put forward a clause that runs counter to my publishing philosophy, and we’ll both just say that it’s a deal-breaker. We’ve walked away from multiple seven-figure deals without breaking a sweat. It helps when you’re totally fine doing things your own way. I still self-publish everything I write from the get-go. If anyone wants to make an offer afterward, I’m always open. I love having those discussions. But as soon as the deal doesn’t make sense for the reader (like higher e-book prices, windowing, limiting the number of works I can publish), the deal is off. My attitude is that publishers need writers far more than writers need publishers. If we can work together, awesome. But the days of dictating unfair deals to us are dwindling, and fast.

My success has largely come from putting the reader first, and that’s what I demand from any publisher I work with. Simon & Schuster and Random House UK have both demonstrated to me over and over again that they care about the reader. S&S agreed to a simultaneous paperback and hardback release. Who does that? Random House UK did a paper-on-board hardback for under ten pounds. They’ve done some incredible giveaways, and they allowed readers in on the process with some awesome contests, all the sorts of things I think publishers should do more of. It’s why I love working with both of these houses. And I love that they tolerate me doing the things I enjoy doing.

Patrice:  You’ve taken the unusual step of allowing others to write and charge for books set in your world, otherwise known as the “WOOLiverse.”  [Full disclosure:  I'm one of them.  I've published the four books in the Karma series, including The Sky Used to be Blue, Cleaning Up, Deep Justice, and Rising Up, as well as my newest Kindle Worlds short story, SILO SECRETS:  Daniel.]  Why are you doing this?  Aren’t there risks?   

Hugh:  It doesn’t occur to me not to allow this. Someone asked if they could write in my world. Who would I be to tell them no? I value freedom above all else. I value creativity, art, and artists. I can’t imagine telling someone that they aren’t allowed to write about my characters. All I feel is flattered and honored by the suggestion. And I can’t imagine asking someone to give away their hard work. I believe artists should get paid if at all possible. As foreign as my stance is to others, any other stance would be foreign to me.

Are there risks? I don’t see any. I have one more work coming out in this universe, and then I leave it to others. The greatest thing that has happened to me in the past few years has been the opportunity to connect directly with so many readers. The second-greatest thing has been seeing talented writers such as yourself connect with those same readers! Contrary to what many writers seem to think, we aren’t in competition with one another. We need each other. If someone can write in my world and entice readers away to their own works, I’ll cheer them on until I’m hoarse.

Patrice:  Amazon’s newly-launched Kindle Worlds programs makes formal the arrangement you’ve already had with some other writers to allow them to jump into the WOOLiverse and write “Silo stories.”  How do you see this as different from what is already happening, and what new opportunities do you think this program will bring to writers and fans?  

Hugh:  My hope is that Kindle Worlds will give these stories greater exposure. There is so much room for exploration in the Silo Saga. I can’t possibly cover it all. And fans have shown an incredible thirst for more adventures.

The most exciting prospect is that dabbling in a beloved world will turn readers into writers. There’s a misconception out there that fan fiction is lazy. The truth is that the world building is the easiest aspect of writing. The challenging bit is the plot, the dialog, the believable characters, the twists and turns and satisfying conclusion. If coming up with the world was the difficult part, it would be easy for anyone to write a story in the world we live in and know, or a story set in historical times. Fan fiction provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to discover their own talents and hopefully graduate to their own works. And the more people we have writing, the larger the pool of talent, the better this industry is for everyone.

Patrice:  Okay… advice to writers time.  What would you tell someone reading this who has an idea, or a book, and wants to get eyeballs on his or her words as quickly as possible.

Start with the first sentence. Make it so incredibly compelling that readers have to read the next sentence to see what happens next. Repeat until you reach the end of the story.

Possible first sentences:

Losing my virginity to a ninja was not what I had in mind on my eighteenth birthday.

I’ve always wanted to know what it felt like to kill a man, and now I know.

If you are reading this, you have exactly three days left to live, and I am already dead.

Maybe those aren’t the best examples, but I put all of two minutes into coming up with them. I’m already thinking of the books I would write to go along with these openings. I think I could entice readers to stick with me for a page or two. If I can do that, I can give these lines away in a Tweet or a Facebook status and gain a reader. I could give the first pages or even an entire book away and trust that they’ll tell others or come back for more.

The misconception out there is that writing requires a mastery of language, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t need perfect prose to launch a writing career; we need entertaining storytelling. Story is king and prose is pawn. Knock readers’ socks off. Shock them. Wow them. Give away your work and wow them some more. Basically: Ninjas + Sex, and you can’t go wrong.

Patrice:  And what about that movie deal… are you and Ridley Scott buds now?  

Hugh:  I wish! Ridley enjoyed my work and is pretty sure that he can make a mediocre book into an amazing film. And I hope he’s right. I get asked all the time how much involvement I would have in the film, and the answer is that I don’t want any part of the project. I would just hamper the development. The producers were kind enough to fly me out to Hollywood to meet the screenwriter and go over some ideas, and that was more than I asked for. Nothing will change the book I wrote. That’s the part I can control. I’d rather stay out of the way and be surprised by what they come up with.

Patrice:  Now that all your wildest writing dreams have come true, what do you still wish for, Hugh?  

Hugh:  For Ridley Scott to be my bud, obviously. 

Also, to be able to come up with something to write tomorrow. And the next day. Because it still feels like magic and something I’m not capable of. I feel like I’m bumbling along and faking it most of the time. I hope I can keep faking it. Because it’s fun to look back at the things I write that feel a whole lot smarter than I know myself to be.

Patrice:  Many thanks to Hugh for answering my questions, and to Joe Konrath, whose invitation to guest bloggers inspired this post, which originally appeared on his website.  I’m watching the phenomenon that is WOOL continue to spread around the world, and I’m thrilled that I was invited to play in Hugh Howey’s universe. 

If you haven’t read them, grab WOOL and SHIFT and DUST and enjoy! And then if you crave more, check out my Karma series, set in the same entertainingly chilling future.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

Working on “Silo Secrets: Daniel” for Kindle Worlds!

I’m nearly done with a brand new and very short story (just over 5,000 words) set in the Silo, but having nothing to do with Karma!  I’m putting it up in Kindle Worlds, which is an intriguing new feature from Amazon allowing writers to publish stories based on well-known TV shows and best-selling books.

I plan to make Silo Secrets: Daniel available for sale sometime next week.  And here is the fabulous cover, designed by the talented cover artist (and author) Jason Gurley, of Greatfall fame:

Silo Secrets Daniel Cover

I’ll let you know when it goes live… I have to finish it first!  And if you can write a review, I would be very grateful.

Kindle Worlds is just getting started, but it is showing great promise and affording yet another opportunity for writers.  If you’re into Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars… well, let me go grab it from the Kindle Worlds site, so you can see exactly what the possibilities are for both readers and writers:

“Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.”

And here’s the brand new page for the “Silo Saga” on Kindle Worlds.

I’m looking forward to dipping my toe into Kindle Worlds and seeing what happens.  Do check out all the other books there, including stories by Jason Gurley, Michael Bunker, David Adams, Fredric Shernoff, Nocomus Columbus, Will Swardstrom, and Thomas Robins.  Great stuff!

I appreciate all the folks who came by for the Summer Blog Hop.  Prize winners will be announced soon.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

Summer Splash Blog Hop happening now!

2013 Blog Hop Logo

Join us for a very cool Blog Hop featuring indie writers of all genres.  You can win serious prizes… including a brand new Kindle Fire 8.9 HD… and find some great new books by fabulous writers.  Here’s how it works:

First, post a comment here to get entered for my individual contest.  I’ll put all the names of those who comment in a hat and draw two out.  The best part is that you get to choose your prize!  Here are the possibilities:

1. A $15 Amazon gift certificate.

2. A signed print copy of RUNNING, my bestselling political thriller.

3. Electronic copies of all the bestselling Karma books based in Hugh Howey’s world of WOOL (there are four out so far, and I’ll gift you the fifth and final one when it’s released).

4. A kind but honest critique of the first fifteen pages of your work in progress.

Or… drumroll please

5. My personal custom help and advice in terms of getting your own indie ebook ready for publication.  I’ve got 18 ebooks out now, written by me and by others, so I’ve got a lot of experience!

You choose.  Two people will win.

But there are even bigger prizes to be won by clicking here for Summer Splash Blog Hop central.  (Detailed list of prizes at the end of this post.) And if you go to all the blogs listed, you have a pretty serious chance of winning something.

Jump in!  The water’s fine!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in my contest.

While you’re here, consider picking up a copy of RUNNING, which was just named a “Best Book of the Month” by Amazon.

running_thumbnail-color

Action, suspense, romance, laughs, and just enough sex… a campaign you’ll never forget. The political thriller with heart.

THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN…

Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against opposition candidate Jerusha Hutchins, former stewardess and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party. But with political wunderkind Zane Zarillo running her campaign, Catherine is bound to hold her lead.

Suddenly a medical emergency puts the President in the hospital and forces Catherine to act in his place… a perfect opportunity for her to show her Oval Office stuff. Just when her election looks like a sure thing, Catherine’s romantic fling from decades ago comes to light. Will the American public accept a woman with a past?

“Rating: 5.5 out of 5 Stars – Top Pick.”
Underground Book Reviews

60,000+ copies downloaded so far.
71 Amazon reviews, 4.3 star rating.

And if that’s not enough, check out my four ebook shorts that make up the Karma series!  Just look at the post below this to find links.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

 

  Here are the details on the 2013 Summer Splash Blog Hop, brought to you by the writers of Indie Writers Unite.  Find all kinds of swag to be won as well as some amazing grand prizes (see below for grand prize information)

Each writer will be hosting his or her own giveaway on the individual blogs and offering unique prizes in addition to the grand prizes.  Click HERE to start hopping the author pages.

 

Want a teaser of some of the items up for grabs on the author pages? Click HERE

 

 As the for the grand prizes, there are 6.  What are they?

 

#1 Kindle Fire 8.9 HD

 

 

 

#2 $100 Amazon Gift Card

#3 $50 Amazon Gift Card

#4 15 paperbacks personally signed by our authors

#5 38 Ebooks gifted to you from our authors

#6 38 eBooks (yep, we’re doing this not once, but twice)!

HOW TO ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZES 1-3

TWEET USING THE HASHTAG  #splashwithus

It’s that simple. We’ll keep track of all the tweets and then draw for the grand-prize winners at the end of the hop. Winners will be announced on or before July 31st on this site. 

RULES: 
 
Tweets MUST include:

1. The hashtag #splashwithus (This is how we track them)
2. A link to the blog hop.

You may tweet as much as you like throughout the hop. 

More Tweets = More Chances to WIN!!!

***As a side note, our authors will be tweeting about the hop as well, but they are not eligible for any of the grand prizes.***

Here are some sample tweets you can cut/paste:

WIN a $300 Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards & more at the #bloghophttp://ow.ly/nfebP #giveaway #win #freekindle #splashwithus #amreading

WIN FREE SWAG at the author #bloghop http://ow.ly/nfeChprizes include a kindle fire! #freekindle #free #giveaway #win #splashwithus 

ENTER TO WIN A KINDLE FIRE at the author blog hophttp://ow.ly/nfeRZ #kindlefree #free #lovebooks #win #giveaway #splashwithus #win

WIN BIG at the author blog hop. More than 50 prizes including a kindle fire HD! http://ow.ly/nffyV #kindlefire #amwriting #splashwithus

HOW TO ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZES 4-6

To enter to win the free signed paperback books and the free books for your kindle, you MUST visit every single author blog hop page and enter whatever contest/giveaway they are running.  Once you’ve visited them all, send an email HERE, with the subject line: FREE BOOKS. 

***NOW GET HOPPING 
AMAZING AUTHOR GIVEAWAYS AWAIT YOU!!!***

Meet the WOOLwrights

Jason Gurley, author of Greatfall, has put together an interesting article on Medium.com about all the folks who write stories set in or around the WOOLiverse.  The piece includes commentary by Hugh Howey and a number of other writers, including me, about “fan fiction,” the future of this growing franchise and the new program by Amazon known as Kindle Worlds, which is expected to launch within a few weeks.  WOOL has been added as one of the properties in which others will officially be allowed to write and sell books, and those of us who have already been writing Silo stories — which have sold an incredible 30,000 copies combined as of last week — are watching this development with great anticipation.

I urge you to check the article out and let me know what you think about fan fiction as well as Amazon’s plans.

In the meantime… look for Karma #4, Rising Up, by this weekend.  w00t!  Or as we like to say, w00L!  If you haven’t read the first three in the series, here they are, in order:

Karma #1, The Sky Used to be Blue

Karma #2, Cleaning Up

Karma #3, Deep Justice

I’m out of the country for a good bit of July, so the fifth and final book in the Karma series, Last Walk, may not be released until later in the summer.  I’ll be watching to see how the Kindle Worlds announcement impacts the possibilities for that book and for the compilation of all the Karma stories into one big novel… whose title I keep messing with, but which I’m currently calling Karma, Complete.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

Sneak Preview Karma #4 – Rising Up

Rising Up - EBook Cover Art

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it.”
Aldous Huxley

            1

I stand looking at the gore on my hands, the endless blood sliding out from the man that was Jeff pooling under my feet, dank, metallic, slippery. 

What have I done?

 “Karma.”  I hear my name called as if from another country. 

 “Karma.”  It comes again, faint but louder.  Rick is sitting up on the cot, his pillow on the floor, his body sucking in great draughts of breath while the tendons in his neck stand out.  He is trembling.

Mars races into our sleeping area from the server room.  He flips a switch and throws blinding whiteness across the body, the grue, the killer standing there with her arms covered with blood.

That would be me.

I am the killer. 

2

Mars wants to get out of here right away.  He is pacing the floor, eager to leave this thirty-fifth level hell immediately.

 Rick and I say we need to talk while we have privacy.  We need to come up with a plan, agree on a story, and figure out what to say when we emerge.

 So we’re talking.  But we’re talking fast.

“I’ll turn myself in,” I say.  “To Sheriff Aponte.”

“No,” Rick says.  “They’ll put you out to Clean.” 

He reaches across the small table in the sleeping area we carved out for ourselves.  His arm touches mine.  I am still getting used to his new way of caring.

 I look at him, in part because I am amazed at his kindness and concern.  But in part because I don’t want to look at the large sheet-covered mass on the floor.  The sheet is stained with blood and already stinks of death. 

 Mars stops his pacing.  “Dad.  We have to get the body—Jeff—taken care of.  At least put him in a bag.  It will take both of us.”

 Rick nods and stands up.  He is stronger now, but his arm is still weak. 

 “I’ll help,” I say.

“We can handle it,” Mars says, heading off to the storage room where I assume there are extra body bags. 

“I killed the man.  I’ll help take care of his body.”  I look at the sheet.  The lump that used to be Jeff.

 

Rising Up will be available through KDP Select by July 1.  Please sign up here if you want to be the first to know about new titles! 

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Works in Progress

“I Dream of PIA” (for The Robot Chronicles anthology, available July 25, 2014)

3149/ 3000 words. 100% done!

"Sand Song” (a novella set in Hugh Howey’s SANDbox)

8,627 / 10000 words. 87% done!

"The Terminal” (a dark futuristic short)

2383 / 2000 words. 100% done!

“ROCKS 1” (the first episode in a dystopian series)

5675 / 10000 words. 57% done!

“Salt & Pepper Mystery #1” (Book one of a cozy mystery series)

22379 / 40000 words. 56% done!

Like Running

My Books

Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus)
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.

Cleaning Up: a Silo story (Karma)
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.

The Sky Used to be Blue: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.

Last Walk: a Silo story
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.

Deep Justice: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.


Rising Up: a Silo story (Karma)
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.



Silo Saga: SILO SECRETS: Daniel
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.

Running
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN... Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against GOP candidate Jerusha Hutchins, folksy charmer and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party.

Till Death Do Us Part: a short story
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.

The Terminal
To be published next week!





Looking for Lance
A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.

Jungle Moon
Another quirky short story from Patrice Fitzgerald about love and the ways people connect. When Felicia gets a special birthday request from her husband Herman, she can't believe what he's asking her to do. Will she say yes? This 3,000 word short story explores the nature of a happy marriage, compromise, and passion. A four-chapter sample of Fitzgerald's best-selling political thriller, RUNNING, is also included.

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